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The Bergamasco is uncommon with an uncommon coat and so too often confused with the Puli or Komondor (other breeds of similar coat).  While the distinctive coat does not form until they are around five, vivacious, loyal, playful and protective attitude does far before then.  Even so, while its size might indicate its suitability for a wide range of homes, this could not be further from the truth.  A dedicated worker, the average dual family home with kids in school with extracurricular activity would quickly make this dog into a bored, annoying and obnoxious companion.  If you are unable to dedicate significant time and energy to developing an exceptional working potential then look elsewhere for your next companion.

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General Information
Group(s): Herding Height: 21-24.5 inches
Weight: 56-84 pounds Longevity: low teens
Colors: grey to black with minimal white, fawn also allowed Coat type: long and harsh, tends to cord
Recognized Registries: The Kennel Club (GB), FCI, UKC, ARBA
Overall Appearance: Medium sized, square bodied dog with most striking initial impression being in the coat made of long, harsh fibers to protect the dog from all weather and many forms of assault. Tendency to cord.
Personaility - Behavior - Training
Energy Level: rather high
General Nature: vigilant, loyal, suspicious of strangers, intelligent
  with Children: generally very good with children properly introduced and supervised
  with other pets: varies
  with dogs: generally good if properly introduced
Socialization requirements: moderate; this breed is not suitable for
Ideal home characteristics: One that can provide the mental and physical stimulation that a working breed requires.
Temperament Notes: Intelligent, cautious, tolerant of those it loves, exceptional watchdog
Training requirement: moderate to high; socialization, basic manners, and ongoing work since it has a work ethic and will seek a job
Trainer notes: The Bergamasco belongs to that group of breeds that are still very close to their roots as working dogs.  Many other breeds with illustrious working histories have been bred into a more companionable animal with lower demands on physical and mental stimulation and more inclined to be doting and attentive on their people. The Bergamasco, while used to working closely with their "shepherd" does not belong to this "companion" group but instead will steadfastly seek to aid their people.  Without proper outlets they are very inclined to become extremely protective of their family.  This is not desirable in most scenarios in the modern age.  Instead, the breed is best suited for those who can assuredly provide him with a strong purpose and work.
Background Information
Year range of first recognition: Ancestry can be traced to dogs that migrated to Italy in 4000BC
Country of Origin: Italy
Original Function: Herding/Protection
History: Tucked in the Alpine areas of Italy, the Bergamsco has assisted shepherds and their families since ancient times. Minimal exportation or incoming animals has kept the lineage essentially pure.
Adoption Information
Deviations from Standard:
Health Notes: hip dysplasia, eye issues,
Health Testing: OFA, CERF
Questions to ask Breeder:  - The Breeder Questions as listed here provided with explanations and answers you will want to be looking for!

  • How long have you had Bergamasco?
  • Why do you have Bergamasco (show, performance, hunting, etc.)?
  • What do you consider to be the most important single characteristic of a Bergamasco?
  • What health issues have you seen in the breed?
  • What criteria do you set for your breeding stock?
  • Do you plan to keep a puppy from this litter?
  • How often do you have puppies?
  • Do you have a written contract and puppy guarantee?
  • At what age do you sent your pups to their homes?
  • How would you describe the ideal Bergamasco?
  • How would you describe the ideal Bergamasco home?
  • Are your puppies whelped in your home?
  • What advice would you offer someone in raising and training a Bergamasco?
  • Web Sites: While this is the international association, hopes are that they would be able to find someone willing to assist a needy Bergamasco within their contacts

    Other Resources
    Breed standard: Standard of the Bergamsco as per The Kennel Club of the UK

    Breeder Ethics: Guidelines from the International Bergamasco Sheepdog Association on what to consider in getting a Bergamasco puppy.  The US club seems to lack all reference to a code of ethics or rescue program

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